The disappearance and apparent murders of 43 Mexican students two months ago may finally provide impetus to reform the deep corruption in that nation’s local police forces, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Congress spent last week debating security reforms, including a provision that would replace the most corrupt local police forces – like those brazenly involved with the students’ disappearances – with agencies under state control.
The reforms are part of a 10-point plan recently announced by President Enrique Peña Nieto. But the decision to move toward a “mando único,” or single police command, is coming under scrutiny in a country where corruption has been found at all levels of the police. The concern is not limited to Mexico. Across Latin America, citizens’ fears about insecurity have risen over the past decade, polls show. Approval for local police performance has fallen, and the average level of trust for national justice systems has hit its lowest level since the survey began in 2004. One expert said this attitude may prompt an increase in vigilante self-defense groups.